I'm a PhD student studying space. I've been a part of stack exchange for ages and recently came across space exploration! Having answered a few questions on the forums I'd like to offer my time to help with the development/administration of the site. What sort of things can I do to help the site, other than tell friends/link to social media etc?
First of, welcome to Space Exploration, and thanks for asking this question! I have already posted some suggestion in other similar threads in our Meta, so I'll just repeat it here and perhaps expand a bit on it, as soon as I can think of other ways:
- Use the share and favorite buttons under questions and answers. Have you asked a question, or maybe answered it? Then share your contribution to social networks that you might have account at. If you don't have an account, they're easy enough to create. I personally find Twitter for this sharing most convenient, but I'm not saying it's the best overall. It's just what I'm most used to. Retweet (or re-share, whatever it is called on other social network websites) our main Space Exploration tweets, regardless of who they were originally posted by. Favorite questions you like, both on social networks they are posted at and in the question threads themselves, and help us make a difference also in the Stack Exchange SuperCollider, where - what we usually refer to as rep train questions - can make a huge difference, greatly increasing our daily number of visitors. Sharing, favoriting, upvoting, adding answers and merely increasing page views by other means are the main contributors in raising their popularity and create a domino / cascade effect. We are competing with questions from other Stack Exchange websites there, and each of us can help the more popular questions reflect on our website's popularity in turn.
- Help make the questions themselves more visible to search engines. Have you read the question and think it could use more tags, better worded title, it could have more external links (maybe to explain some used acronym better, preferably in words, too)? Then please edit it to be more search engine friendly and SEO (Search Engine Optimized). Can't submit edits directly, because you didn't reach the required privilege yet? No problem, suggest an edit, or raise a custom flag for moderators to handle it, explaining what you had in mind.
- Vote on contributions that you've read. I'm not suggesting which way the vote should go, there should be both upvotes as well as downvotes warranted, and that is perfectly normal, if you look, even on already mature Stack Exchange sites. Good voting habits will help us further define what is on our website wanted, and what isn't. At the same time, it will make users posting great contributions feel more welcome, and are likely to stay more frequently with us. Plus, we need more members with higher reputation points privileges, so this feel of a productive community really starts happening.
- Participate in meta, and our main chat room. Good ideas are always welcome in our meta site, but they do tend to add to our members' workloads where, as far as our statistics go, doesn't matter so much. Much of this red tape could be easily avoided by stopping by at our main chat room and discuss smaller issues with our regular dwellers there. If ideas, suggestions, even arguments need to be kept on record, replied and voted on by our community though, then of course, by all means, please post it in our meta.
- Help others learn the ropes. Constructive criticism is fine, but often it will only take ever so slightly more effort in actually making some contribution better, than to comment on it. If you see a new, still low reputation user struggling to add links or images to their posts, then please edit them to include information they wanted to add, but yet can't. Also make sure they get those few much needed starting reputation points faster, so they can do a few of things on their own as fast as possible and start learning the ropes on their own. Many of our new members will actually already be used to handling stuff by having experience on other Stack Exchange websites, but some might be new. Lend them a hand. Ideally, the question titles and their tags should make as much sense before it reaches two upvotes and is automatically retweeted by our website's twitter account. So - edit for clarity, then upvote. If you see members struggle with some other things, help them out, or bring it to attention to our moderators and other members in our chat room, or with moderator flags.
- Make sure your ideas to promote the site reach those that can help you. Some members might be a bit more inventive, with a touch for designing our promotional materials, while some might be better at finding ideas that others could help materialize. Nobody here should feel alone in trying to promote our website, we have many users constantly dedicating some of their precious time for such activities, and we're already active in building our stack of promotional materials for use elsewhere. Best place to discuss such ideas is our main chat room, where you might get near instantaneous response, see how others feel about it. We certainly don't want to appear as too needy, desperate even, so be prepared for some criticism from our peers to polish some idea and really make it shine. It will make a difference.
- Help us upvote already placed on other sites community promotion banners. As mentioned previously, these community promotion ads will compete with ads of other communities for their rotation space. Our currently placed ads are doing great, and have already attracted several dozens of visitors per each Stack Exchange website they're posted on to our website in mere days. The higher voted those ads are, the more frequently they will rotate on their respective main sites. These ads are posted in the Ideas for off-site Space Exploration community promotion ads thread, listing in each answer where individual ads are posted and could use more upvotes.
- Don't favor individuals, favor the whole community. If you're here reading this, then you're likely already doing this, but just a quick reminder that other members need support from you as well, not just a handful of top rated members. The newcomers will likely need your attention more. If they write good contents, then make sure you've upvoted them. If you see them struggle with English or expert language, suggest an edit to improve their contributions. Try to add to their contributions, not hijack them. Avoid long discussions in the comments not to make them feel they're being tested, and rather invite them to our chat room. Have you been in our chat room and saw some new member come in and say nothing? Make them feel welcome and encourage them to participate in whichever discussion you're having. Be courteous. We already have much to show for, and some new members might feel unease inserting their own take. We want to prevent that and be an open society.
Also, you're not alone. We try to organize community chat events (current schedule), run various schemes to try and keep things interesting, like our Topic of The Week that could use more active participants, even pure fun, one-off events and competitions, lists of useful resources, you name it. So have a look around our main Space Exploration site, our Space Exploration Meta, and our main chat room - The Pod Bay, and we'll think of something else, if all we're already active in isn't your cup of tea.
Here are some threads from our Space Exploration Meta that could use a bit more exposure and tending to from our members:
- Topic of The Week [frozen due to lack of community support]
- Resources and references on the topic of space exploration
- Collection of space exploration related infographics
- Educational resources to accompany Space Exploration
And our next site self-evaluation should be just around the corner, with not all of the suggested improvements to our contents from the January one yet realized. So there is plenty to do, if you would like to help us out. Don't forget to have fun doing it, though, and join us in our chat where we can discuss things that need to be done easier, while having some fun at the same time. And if you have suggestions for our chat room, we also have meta posts for that: